G7 Speakers' Summit sees people who have "never even heard of Chorley" pay a visit to the town

A lifelong Chorley market trader says that the publicity surrounding the build-up to the G7 Speakers’ Summit over the weekend is already paying off for the town.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 6:41 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 6:42 pm

The market has long attracted visitors from far beyond the borough’s borders, but John Brennan - who operates ten clothing stalls there and has had a presence in Chorley for more than 50 years - says people have been arriving over the last week who have been drawn by coverage of the borough’s new-found status as an international conference venue.

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“On Saturday, in particular, we got a lot of people from different places coming to visit us for the first time.

Roberto Fico, the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies; Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Chorley MP and Speaker of the House of Commons; Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives; and Richard Ferrand, the President of the French National Assembly, gather for a "family photo" outside Astley Hall at the G& Speakers' Summit (image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

“One guy said he’d never even heard of Chorley - and he was only from Manchester. But he said, ‘What a fabulous little town’ - he was really raving about it, saying that there’s nowhere with this type of character now and how lovely it was.

“We usually get two or three coach trips here a week - those people haven't come to look at [somewhere like] Marks and Spencer, they’ve come for the market.

"But recently, I even had a couple from Scotland visiting one of my stalls. They were on holiday down here, but came especially to Chorley - and spent £200 just with me,” said John, who acts as a representative for fellow stallholders.

He also hopes that the current spring in Chorley’s collective step might make residents more appreciative of what they have on their doorstep.

“People sometimes say, ‘Oh, what’s at Chorley?’ - especially the younger ones who live here. But you've got the countryside over at Rivington and then the town centre - it’s got a lot going for it.”.

Chorley MP and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who hosted the prestigious event at Astley Hall, says the globetrotting guests - who included US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi - “loved Chorley and the experience we gave them”.

He told the Chorley Guardian that he did not believe the event could have gone “any better” - and said he hopes the G7 effect will be a long-lasting one.

“The flag that Nancy Pelosi gave to [St. Laurence’s Church] will probably bring people [to the area] in itself. To give us that special flag [which flew during Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony] means so much.

“And to be able to show Chorley off was a real moment for me,” Sir Lindsay added.

Deputy leader of Chorley Council, Peter Wilson, said the borough had been showcased on the world stage “in a way that has left our residents feeling proud and millions of people across the world knowing more about the brilliant place we call home”.

“We were really excited about the prospect of welcoming some of the world’s most important politicians to Chorley as soon as it was announced the G7 Speakers’ Conference would be coming to the Commons Speaker’s hometown and it was a brilliant experience to be a part of

“Not only has this raised the profile of our borough and what we have to offer here, it has boosted our local economy - and I’m sure having seen the beautiful Astley Hall and grounds, we’ll be welcoming many more new visitors in the coming weeks and months,” Cllr Wilson said.